JERUSALEM (Jun. 8)
The government has taken Israel’s quasi-independent Broadcasting Authority to task for allegedly accentuating the negative and ignoring the positive in its presentation of the news on television.
Aharon Yadlin, Minister of Education and Culture, sent a strongly worded letter to the Authority hinting not too subtly that unless changes the “tone” of some of its reportage, its independence may be restricted. Some members of the Broadcasting Authority’s managing committee expressed dismay over the letter which they regard as an infringement on freedom to report the news.
The Broadcasting Authority which runs Israel’s state-owned radio and television was set up as an independent, autonomous body free from political influence. But the Education Ministry is charged with implementing the law by which the Authority was created. Yadlin’s letter was said to have been prompted by criticism in the Knesset over several recent to news reports on controversial issues. One report depicted a lack of assistance by the authorities to residents of a Jerusalem apartment house hit by terrorist, bombs.
Yadlin wrote: “I regard as serious the eagerness of tv reporters to stress the negative in ours lives and ignore the positive–which is just as important. One cannot agree to a situation in which the Broadcasting Authority ignores the monopoly it has, its power and independence. This status gives the Broadcasting Authority certain privileges, but to the same extent, also duties — in the first place the duty to serve as a cultural and educational medium.” Yadlin continued: “I am afraid that the kind of atmosphere prevailing at tv news measures the success of a reporter by the number of ‘scoops’ he brings in without considering the significance behind the stories.”